How to budget at university?
1. Figure out your income
If you are going to receive maintenance loan, you’ll most likely get it at the beginning of term 1,2 & 3. This means you must make each payment last until the next. You might have a part time job, and this will provide you with some other income which you can spend. You may also receive money from a bursary, your parents, or any saving you had from before uni. It will make your time at university a lot easier if you have an idea of your main income and when it will be in your account.
2. Have a vague idea of outgoings
There are many estimate online which show you how much you may spend on different outgoings whilst at university. Your main outgoing will be rent, bills, groceries, transport, and course items. You will usually know your rent from the outset so you can budget for that. You can buy your bus pass in advance so you should be able to budget for that too. Your non-essential budgets will include night outs and social events that you might decide to take part in. Other costs will be small but manageable. I would recommend keeping some money aside for unexpected costs.
3. Work out your weekly budget
The formula I use for my budget is = (income – outgoings)/10. I use 10 because there are ten weeks in the term. This tells you how much money you can spend in a week. I always try to use the least amount possible as this lets me try and save some money too. However, this gives you an idea of what your upper limit should be.
Most student bank accounts come with a free overdraft. I would recommend using this in extreme circumstances when you have an unexpected cost that you cannot cover. Although its free, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the free money ideology and not be able to return it.